I stumbled upon a frantic bride’s question on a forum the other day – her wedding ceremony at the Paradisus Playa Conchal had been moved to nearby Playa Flamingo and then, back to the hotel property but in a gazebo. The reason? “A new law in which no weddings are allowed on any beaches in Costa Rica.”
Now, dear bride (and groom), the old saying that don’t believe everything you read or hear is true. To set the record straight:
All beaches in Costa Rica are public, by law. There are no permits or restrictions to use of the beach (and yes, that means having alcohol on the beach is fine). Which means beach weddings are perfectly legal.
The backstory of this is that the Paradisus is having some issues with the mini-city of vendors that have set up on the beach, in-front of the hotel. Now, it is illegal to have a permanent structure within 50 metres of the high-tide mark and these vendors have basically set up shop and grown roots, yet somehow they seem to have the municipality of Santa Cruz on their side (hmm, wasn’t the last mayor forced to step down due to charges of influence-peddling?). Anyways, while this ‘issue’ between the hotel and the vendors is being discussed, the hotel is not allowed to have events on the beach at Playa Conchal (yes, it’s legally a free and open beach so go figure!). They have been holding ceremonies over at the next beach, the very picturesque Playa Flamingo, which has a killer sunset (Conchal, due to the hills, does not).
So, there you have it. Beach weddings are definitely a go here in the land of Pura Vida!